February 10, 2013

Short stories from Mainers stuck in the blizzard

From staff reports

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Lucy Sommo, right, of Portland braces herself from the strong winds along the Eastern Promenade while snowshoeing with Jean Geslin during a blizzard on Saturday morning in Portland on February 9, 2013.

Tim Greenway / Staff Photographer

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Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans A man blows snow from his driveway on Bartlett Street in Waterville as Winter Storm Nemo hammers central Maine early Saturday morning.

Staff photo/Michael G. Seamans

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But some fitness facilities took pity on their members and offered alternatives that didn’t require venturing out into the blowing conditions.

Portland Power Yoga on Cove Street emailed members with an online yoga session, called “snowga,” to help them weather the storm. 

Wishful thinking at jetport, with most flights canceled

The Portland International Jetport was almost deserted on Friday, with only a few hopeful travelers watching the departures screens.

"This is nuts," said Liane Knutsen, one of a dozen employees of Mount Pleasant Dental Care of Rockland who were trying to get to Florida for an office retreat. "This is a big storm. If we can get on the plane, we're good."

A couple from Florida hoped to catch a flight home.

"We didn't think it was going to be this bad this early," said Brenda LeBel of Davenport, Fla. She and her husband, Roger LeBel, moved to Florida from Maine six years ago.

"Most flights have been canceled, but we hope we will get on," she said, crossing her fingers.

Most travelers were out of luck, with airlines canceling more than two dozen flights from Portland on Friday afternoon and night. The last flight to get out was a US Airways flight to Washington, which left shortly before 1 p.m., about 25 minutes late. 

Letter carriers brave storm, hoping the paths are clear

While letter carriers were doing their best to deliver the mail Friday, they have discretion to end their routes early if they feel unsafe or if conditions like icy overhangs, slippery steps or unshoveled paths make their routes dangerous.

Tom Rizzo, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service in northern New England, advised residents to keep paths clear and ensure that carriers have clear access.

"The ones that are out there today, they're earning their pay," Rizzo said. 

Hardware's business brisk as customers get prepared

Gary Whitmore, store manager at Aubuchon Hardware on Stevens Avenue in Portland, said people picked up shovels and salt in recent days in preparation for the storm. He also had sold a lot of fuel, including propane and wood pellets.

Whitmore had one generator in stock, and a customer bought it Friday morning, "just to be safe." 

Mother, daughter nibble cookies, plan to do crafts

Some residents were happy to stay off the roads.

"We are doing all the things we can within walking distance of home," said Andrea Gavin, who nibbled Valentine's Day cookies with her 5-year-old daughter, Sophie, at the Big Sky Bakery in Portland.

They had bought valentines at a nearby CVS and were headed to Artists and Craftsmen next door to pick up craft projects for the weekend.

"I think we're going to be indoors for a while," Gavin said. 

City deserted, traffic light but skiers head for slopes

Officials who hoped that drivers would get off the roads early Friday apparently got their wish: By 4 p.m., traffic on most major routes was very light and downtown Portland was largely deserted.

With a forecast calling for conditions to go downhill rapidly, most companies gave employees the day off or let them go home early.

However, state police said traffic coming in from New Hampshire on the Maine Turnpike was still steady in the afternoon. They speculated that skiers were trying to beat the storm to the mountains where they could take advantage of fresh powder on Saturday. 

Law school students make case for playing in snow

There were more 20-somethings than children playing in the snow Friday afternoon on Portland's Eastern Promenade, a popular spot for sledding.

Through Facebook, Taylor Sampson, 25, had invited his classmates from the University of Maine School of Law, which canceled classes for the day.

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Additional Photos

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Snow blows and drifts over the benches along the Eastern Promenade during the blizzard on Munjoy Hill in Portland onSaturday morning February 9, 2013.

Tim Greenway / Staff Photographer

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Alexandria Brahler, right, holds onto Colin Matthews, as they struggle against strong winds and blowing snow Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 in Portland, Maine. Officials are cautioning residents to stay off the roads in Maine, where Portland set an all-time snowfall record and blowing snow continues to reduce visibility on the coast. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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Skiers put fresh tracks on Quarry Road as snow falls in Waterville on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013.

Michael G. Seamans / Staff Photographer



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